A spectacular display of serene beauty awakened the night sky. There were no clouds above, just vast space and billions of brilliant stars. I sat still in the darkness, gazing with wonder at the familiar, yet distant night sky. I connected stars to constellations and pondered the realm of outer space. Clearly, I was entranced by creation, but even more by my Creator.
There's beauty in the quiet.
One evening, the sun was setting on the beach as I chased my oldest two daughters along the shore. Bare feet dug deep in cold, salty sand as I sprinted to tag them in a game of chase. Every few strides, they glanced back at me, expecting and hoping for me to reach my arms around them. I might have missed their smiles and laughter that day, but I didn't. I chose an unplanned beach trip rather than more work. Because little by little I'm learning:
There's beauty in the quiet.
“Better is a handful of quietness than two hands full of toil and a striving after wind.”
Ecclesiastes 4:6, ESV
Day after day, choices are made. What will I make of the time given to me? Many days I run ragged with too much on my mind and lists. When time is limited, so should my tasks be, but so much more demands my attention. Or does it? A “yes” is said to way too many things, invitations, and whatever else. “Yes” seems to be the easier way of life. Why is it much harder to say “no”?
At what point did doing more become more valuable in our day?
We live in a day when technologically advanced tools make it possible for us to manage copious amounts of tasks. We accomplish more tasks in one day than generations before us. Do these tools really give us a sense of final accomplishment or leave us more distracted and addicted to accomplishing more?
Perhaps doing more has nothing to do with technology. Maybe, doing more looks like relentless working. The kind of working that's motivated by vain striving with no foreseeable end.
And what about the quiet? Is there such a thing as quiet or is quiet an elusive pursuit?
A handful of quietness will look differently for each person, but I'd venture to say it could include some of these:
Saying “no” to just one more thing
Turning off or silencing technology during certain times of the day
Choosing a few tasks to accomplish in one day rather than a ridiculous amount of tasks
Pulling away from several ministries to focus on one, (as God directs you)
Embracing a messy house every now and then to spend time with family
Making the hard decision to work less, (as God directs you).
Because there's beauty in the quiet, when doing less is better than more.
Another day my washer hums through cycles because I designated the day for laundry. A few other tasks were added to my list but nothing more. My day would be busy enough taking care of my family. So, I chose to do less, because I decided my less is better than more. Then, I snuggled up close with my two youngest daughters to read a stack of storybooks. Time went by without a chime from my phone or guilt from my list because little by little, I'm beginning to live—beautifully in the quiet.
Today we begin a 4-week study on the book of Ecclesiastes. The Bible study is intended for individual study. Complete it at your own pace. Download part 1, (Chapters 1-6) by clicking here.